Holmes' 'White Drip' protest by Hotere for sale

KERRY MCBRIDE

It was painted in protest at something he said, but that did not stop Sir Paul Holmes from buying a painting by Ralph Hotere and making it a treasured part of his collection.

Now White Drip II has been put up for auction, along with three other New Zealand works, by the broadcaster's family trust.

White Drip II was painted in 2003 as a protest against Holmes referring to then-United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan on a radio show as a "cheeky darkie".

Estimated to fetch between $140,000 and $170,000, it will be sold alongside pieces by Tony Fomison, Shane Cotton and Allen Maddox at a Dunbar Sloane auction in Wellington later this month.

All four paintings previously hung in Holmes' home at Mana Lodge, Hawke's Bay, where he died in February this year.

Dunbar Sloane fine and applied arts director Helena Walker said the history of the Hotere piece made it particularly interesting for Kiwi art collectors.

"It's quite emblematic of Sir Paul's sense of humour and willing sense of irony that he would own a piece that Hotere created in response to something he was criticised for."

Holmes said in 2008 that he thought buying the work was "rather a gas".

"The other reason I bought the painting, apart from the fact that it related to something specifically I had done, is that I think it's a beautiful work. I suppose it was a chance to take something positive out of the whole miserable experience of those few weeks."

Fomison's untitled piece is estimated to attract $70,000 to $90,000 at the November 20 auction, while Cotton's 2006 untitled piece is set down at $50,000. Maddox's large 1979 untitled piece is estimated to fetch between $40,000 and $60,000.

They will be on view at Dunbar Sloane, in Maginnity St, from November 14.